• May 10, 2018

    The unrest at the Denver Post continues, with the paper’s journalists staging a protest in front of the New York City building where the hedge fund that owns the paper is located. Alden Capital, which acquired the paper in 2010, has made the newspaper business a profitable one by cutting costs and laying off staff. Last week, the editorial page editor resigned after an article critical of Alden was blocked by ownership. According to the New York Times, one of the protestors, Elizabeth Hernandez, wore a pin that said “I am a certified pest.” She told the Times, “I don’t like being the story. But if we don’t tell our own story now, I don’t know how long we’ll able to tell our community’s.”

    The Onion has started a satirical protest website, ResistanceHole. In the first post, the site channels the self-righteous fury of angry anti-Trump bloggers:  “ResistanceHole is here to take a courageous stand against you by pumping out enough shareable content to topple you and the craven liars and incompetent mouth-breathers you surround yourself with.”

    Anne Carson

    Tonight at the City University of New York (CUNY), Anne Carson will discuss “Envisioning the Classics.”

    At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple writes about the White House Correspondents’ Association’s responses to Trump. As the president continues to threaten press freedoms, the WHCA has a mixed track record in condemning his provocations. After a tweet in which the president suggested revoking press credentials for journalists who are “negative (Fake),” the Association released a statement strongly condemning Trump’s words: “A free press must be able to report on the good, the bad, the momentous and the mundane, without fear or favor. And a president preventing a free and independent press from covering the workings of our republic would be an unconscionable assault on the First Amendment.”

    FX, Hulu, and the New York Times are teaming up on a new TV show, The Weekly, a news-driven series modeled on the paper’s successful podcast, The Daily. The show will premiere later this year.

     

  • May 9, 2018

    Richard Lloyd Parry has won the Rathbones Folio Prize for his book Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone. For our winter issue, William T. Vollmann wrote about the book: “A lesser writer might have exploited [the] ugly, gruesome stories. This man has a heart. He transmits to us not only the facts but also, through that special emotional conduction that requires both skill and sincerity, a portion of his subjects’ sufferings. In other words, you will not find this to be an uplifting book.”

    In the wake of the sexual and verbal abuse allegations against Junot Díaz, Lyta Gold considers the myths that surround talented male writers: “Once Díaz was labeled a genius, his work was presumptively taken to be flawless and free of sin, which turned legitimate critiques into heresies and, ultimately, may have prevented Díaz from developing as a writer.”   

    Google News has been redesigned and will now feature personalized news chosen by Artificial Intelligence. A feature called Full Coverage will provide many sources for one story, including timelines and videos.  

    Rachel Kushner

    At the Washington Post, Ted Genoways writes about how copyright law prevents works like the Zora Neal Hurston’s Barracoon, which has just been republished, from coming to light: “‘Barracoon,’ . . . was rejected for publication in 1931, because it was deemed too vernacular by Hurston’s editor. Current copyright law unintentionally conspired to unnaturally extend the duration of that wrongheaded judgment for decades. That is why I bridle at the description of works like ‘Barracoon’ as ‘lost.’ They are not lost — they have always been here — but they have repeatedly encountered power structures that block their publication. It’s time for that to change.”

    Tonight at Greenlight Books in Brooklyn, Rachel Kushner will read from her new novel, The Mars Room. For more on the book, see Sasha Frere Jones’s review in our new issue.  

  • May 8, 2018

    The staff at the Denver Post have released a statement heavily criticizing the paper’s ownership, Digital First Media and the hedge fund Alden Capital. The letter was released soon after the editorial page editor, Chuck Plunkett, resigned because an op-ed critical of the owners was blocked by DFM’s chief operating officer. The open letter concludes with a call for the ownership group to make big changes: “It has become vividly clear that they must either invest in the newspaper or sell it to someone who cares about Colorado, and they must do it immediately.” The Daily Beast has more background on the story in “The Denver Post Newsroom is in Full-On Rebellion against Its Hedge Fund Master,” while Neiman Labs takes a deep-dive into how Alden Capital is making money in the news business by slashing staff and budgets.

    Ian McEwan. Photo: Urszula Soltys.

    Ian McEwan helped his son Greg with a paper on McEwan’s novel, Enduring Love. According to McEwan, “I didn’t read his essay but it turned out his teacher disagreed fundamentally with what he said. I think he ended up with a C+.”  

    In the New York Times, David Leonhardt calls for Barnes & Noble to be saved as Amazon threatens to make the bookselling giant irrelevant.

    At New York magazine, Eric Levits considers the recent trend of mainstream media outlets hiring conservative columnists: “It’s one thing to employ a conservative writer because he or she is interesting . . . it’s another to employ a substandard columnist because he or she is conservative. And liberal publications, in their quest for balance, have often done the latter.”

    Wired magazine talks to the authors of the most-cited source on Wikipedia, a 2007 academic paper on world climate that has been referenced more than 2.8 million times.

    Tonight at the Brooklyn Historical Society, David Grann talks about his book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

  • May 7, 2018

    The Swedish Academy has announced that there will be no Nobel Prize in Literature this year. The decision comes in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, in which photographer Jean-Claude Arnault—who is married to one academy member and friends with others—has been accused of abusing and assaulting at least eighteen women. The Complete Review has a comprehensive list of stories and reactions to the news, including a New Yorker piece where Alexandra Schwartz writes, “It seems inevitable that all this chaos will damage the prestige of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Maybe the bigger surprise is that it has managed to maintain its lustre for so long. Why, after all, do we get so worked up about which writer a committee of Swedish intellectuals chooses to anoint in any given year?”

    Media conglomerate Tronc has agreed to recognize unions for its Chicago publications, including the Chicago Tribune. Earlier this year, Tronc lost an effort to halt the unionization of the Los Angeles Times.

    Ronan Farrow

    Ronan Farrow, who was recently awarded the Pulitzer prize for his reporting on Harvey Weinstein, talks about his new book, War on Peace.   

    Junot Diaz has withdrawn from a Sydney literary festival after being accused of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse by at least four women. Diaz released a statement through his literary agent. On Twitter, Roxane Gay wrote, “Now, I don’t know how fans of this work proceed from here. I do know we need to have a more vigorous conversation that simply saying, ‘Junot Diaz is cancelled,’ because that does not cancel misogyny or how the literary community protects powerful men at the expense of women.”

    At the New York Review Daily, Reah Bravo writes about her experiences as an intern for Charlie Rose.

    Tonight at the Strand bookstore in New York City, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto talks with Darius Himes about his new book, Portraits, which highlights Sugimoto’s images of wax figures.

  • May 4, 2018

    Amy Chozick

    BuzzFeed news reports on the newsroom drama at the New York Times in response to Amy Chozick’s new book, Chasing Hillary, about the paper’s coverage of the 2016 campaign. Times staffers have expressed misgivings that the book contains private comments from colleagues, an inside look at the maneuverings of reporters angling to get front-page stories, and a general theme that journalists are driven by ego and ambition as much as by lofty ideals about truth and accountability. For her part, Choznick says, “I haven’t heard any complaints,” while executive editor Dean Baquet’s comment offers a case-study in carefully calibrated diplomacy: “Amy is a talented journalist and a wonderful colleague. . . . She was not privy to every discussion we had about coverage and I don’t agree with some assessments of our coverage in her book but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.”

    Jennifer Egan’s novel Manhattan Beach has won the “One Book, One New York Contest,” which is a citywide book club sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and New York magazine.  

    The Huffington post has a leaked transcript of a staff Q and A The Atlantic held the day after columnist Kevin Williamson was fired. Williamson was brought on to provide conservative commentary for the magazine and was dismissed after two weeks on the job (he wrote his account of the firing for the Wall Street Journal). In the transcript, editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates discuss the hire and the decision to let Williamson go.  

    At the New Republic, Eve Fairbanks writes about Tom Brokaw’s response to a sexual harassment allegation and what it reveals about power in media.

  • May 3, 2018

    Gabriel Sherman. Photo: Nephi Niven

    The Loudest Voice in the Room author Gabriel Sherman is working on a screenplay about Donald Trump. According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Apprentice will follow Trump’s road to fame and the presidency, “focusing on his early influences like attorney Roy Cohn.” In a statement, Sherman explained that his interest in the film comes from the fifteen years he’s spent reporting on Trump. “I’ve long been fascinated by his origin story as a young builder coming up in the gritty world of 1970s and ’80s New York,” he said. “This formative period tells us so much about the man who today occupies the Oval Office.”

    After New York Times metro editor Wendell Jamieson’s resignation following an internal investigation into claims of inappropriate behavior by several female employees, Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo writes that, in the wake of the paper’s Pulitzer Prize–winning investigations into Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly, among others, “some people both inside the Times and out have been less than satisfied with the paper’s handling of its own #MeToo controversies, talking the talk, they’d argue, while not fully walking the walk.”

    Just one week after the second season debuted, Hulu has announced that The Handmaid’s Tale will get a third season.

    Annie Proulx has won the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Proulx will receive the award next fall.

    At Off the Record, a journalism event hosted by BuzzFeed, Quartz, and The Information Mark Zuckerberg discussed Facebook’s plans to address concerns about fake news and publishing revenues on the platform. Although Facebook is currently working on “a system that ranks news organizations based on trustworthiness,” Zuckerberg said that there are no plans to pay publishers for articles shared on the platform.

    New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova has pushed back the release date for her book on the world of professional poker because, according to Deadspin, “she got too good at poker.”

  • May 2, 2018

    Rachel Kushner. Photo: Lucy Raven

    Rachel Kushner talks to Entertainment Weekly about art, activism, and her new book, The Mars Room. Although some recent works on the criminal justice system, like Serial and Making a Murderer, have led to activism, Kushner says that wasn’t her aim in setting The Mars Room in a women’s prison. “I don’t think art can be message-y or political,” she said. “Why not just write an op-ed? And I’m not the person to do that.”

    The Washington Post‘s Jason Rezaian is joining CNN as a global affairs analyst. In his tweet announcing the new job, Rezaian, who was arrested and detained in Iran for nearly two years, wrote that the chance to work for both the paper and the news network “is one that I could have hardly imagined not too long ago.”

    According to the Associated Press, “more than a year has passed since President Donald Trump held the only solo news conference of his administration” and there are no plans for one in the future. Instead, Trump relies on questions shouted at him from journalists who have been invited to observe specific events, which makes it much easier for him to “ignore questions he doesn’t like and dodge follow-ups in a way that would be glaring in a traditional news conference.”

    The Pisces author Melissa Broder says that her move from poetry to prose writing was sparked by relocating to Los Angeles. “When I lived in New York, I wrote poetry on the subway,” she explained. “But when I moved to LA four years ago, I started dictating my work in my car. The line breaks disappeared and the language became more conversational. . . . The geography literally informed the text.”

    At the 2018 Digital Content NewFronts, the New York Times discussed its plans to move into television and film content. Assistant managing editor Sam Dolnick detailed projects that are currently in production—which include a Netflix version of the paper’s Diagnosis column on difficult medical cases and a movie based on their reporters’ coverage of Harvey Weinstein (“All the President’s Men, with three women”)—and floated ideas for future shows. “We think (dating column) Modern Love should be a series on TV,” Dolnick said. “The Crossword Puzzle. That could be a game show.”

  • May 1, 2018

    Antoni Porowski. Photo: Netflix

    Antoni Porowski, the food expert from Netflix’s Queer Eye, is writing a cookbook. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2019, the still-untitled book “will continue to promote the simple, healthy, visually appealing fare that marked his culinary approach on the Netflix reboot.” In a statement, Porowski said he’s excited to be publishing the book with “the talented and passionate Rux Martin,” editorial director of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “We immediately bonded on the importance of hor-d’oeuvres and our mutual love for Vermont,” Porowski explained.

    Mark O’Connell’s To Be a Machine has won the 2018 Wellcome book prize.

    The New York Times has hired several new editors and thirteen reporters for their 2018 midterms politics team. In a statement, the paper explained that the new hires “will bring voters, candidates and campaigns to revealing life; dig in to where American politics, policy, identity and culture are going in the Trump era; and undertake beats and original projects.”

    After a Guardian article mentioned a rumor that the tech company is looking to buy “parts or all of the troubled magazine publisher Condé Nast,” The Outline wonders which publication might be up for sale.

    In response to the controversy generated by comedian Michelle Wolf’s routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner, association members are brainstorming new ways to make the event less “controversial.” Solutions include discontinuing the dinner, booking new entertainment, inviting a “pair of comedians, one with a liberal bent and one with a conservative bent,” or changing the event “to make its focus the promotion of journalism and the freedom of the press.”

    Tonight at McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan, Adelle Waldman talks to Sheila Heti about her new book, Motherhood.

  • April 30, 2018

    The Nobel Prize in literature may be canceled this year due to a series of accusations of sexual abuse. In November, French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to Nobel academy Katarina Frostenson,  was accused of sexual assault or harassment by eighteen women. If the prize is not given, it will be the first time it has been withheld since World War II. The Swedish Academy will make its decision this week, on May 3.

    Ninety years after it was completed, Zora Neale Hurston’s book about a former slave, Barracoon, is being published this week by Amistad press.

    Adam Fitzgerald

    Adam Fitzgerald

    The Home School in Hudson, New York, will be offering its annual poetry conference this summer from July 29 through August 3. “The key inspiration for Home School Hudson,” says the website, “is John Ashbery’s 19th-century Hudson residence, a carefully composed collage-environment the poet has constructed and curated over thirty-five years with an eclectic array of fine art by European and American masters, furniture, pottery, textiles, bric-a-brac, toys, and other objects—all organized in an architecturally-distinguished setting.” This year’s faculty includes poets CAConrad, Adam Fitzgerald, Myung Mi Kim, Harryette Mullen, Eileen Myles, Frank Wilderson III, and Divya Victor, Che Gossett. The school has extended its deadline for applications until May 1.

    LARB has an article about the cultural phenomenon of Cho Nam-joo’s Kim Ji-young Born 1982, which was the bestselling novel in Korea last year, and became so popular that the government drew on it for a recent PR campaign.

    On Wednesday night in New York, George Saunders appears at the New York Public Library, and Geoff Dyer talks with filmmaker Michael Almereyda at Brooklyn’s Murmrr Ballroom.

  • April 27, 2018

    Rita Dove

    New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein has announced that Rita Dove will be the publication’s poetry editor starting this summer. Dove, a former Poet Laureate of the United States and the author of numerous books—including poetry, short stories, and essays—will take over the job from poet Terrance Hayes.  

    A movie focused on the journalists behind the Harvey Weinstein exposé is in the works. Deadline magazine reports that the film will focus on how reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and editor Rebecca Corbett broke the Pulitzer Prize–winning story: “The thrust of the film isn’t Weinstein or his scandal. This is about an all-women team of journalists who persevered through threats of litigation and intimidation, to break a game-changing story, told in a procedural manner like Spotlight and All the President’s Men.”

    Charlie Rose, who stepped down from hosting his PBS show after sexual misconduct allegations from seventeen women surfaced last year, is reportedly pitching a show on which he interviews other powerful men, such as Matt Lauer and Louis CK, who have been accused of harassment. On Twitter, New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum wrote: “I am only up for this Charlie Rose show if it is a reality competition called The Reckoning & it is hosted by the angry ghost of Frances Farmer.” Tina Brown says she was approached to produce the show, adding, “These guys are already planning their comebacks!”  

    The Library of Congress has announced a new poetry podcast.

    At the New York Review of Books Daily, Jay Rosen writes about Trump and the media, tracing the long history of the Right’s attempts to discredit journalists: “There is alive in the land an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is succeeding. Its roots are long.”

Advertisement